La casa menstrual como espacio liminal: una lectura de la sociedad Kalasha (Pakistan) a través de su materialidad

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Los kalasha son una etnia no islámica del noroeste de Pakistán cuya ordenación dual del mundo en las categorías onjesta-pragata ha llamado la atención de numerosos antropólogos. Ésta se ha venido interpretando en clave de pureza e impureza, siendo lo puro (onjesta) identificado con el ideal social y lo impuro (pragata) interpretado como aquello que debe recluirse para evitar la polución. Este hecho ha propiciado que a la institución considerada más pragata: la casa menstrual o bashali, se le haya atribuido a priori una naturaleza impura y la función única de contenedor de impureza. En este trabajo se defenderá, sin embargo, que el bashali responde a una naturaleza liminal y funciona como un aglutinante social. Para ello, se introduce, a modo de enmarque, la sociedad kalasha, la historia de la región y las principales interpretaciones sobre el bahsali. Después, se aborda el concepto de liminalidad prestando especial atención al desarrollo del término en los trabajos de Arnold van Gennep y Victor Turner. Luego, se procede al análisis de la posición, la espacialidad y la cultura material del bashali de forma comparativa, contrastando sus características espaciales y materiales con las del espacio habitacional. Por último, se exponen las conclusiones y se recalca la importancia del estudio de la materialidad para conocer significados culturales inconscientes para la gente que los produce, pero analizables a través de su expresión física.
Kalasha people are a non-Islamic ethnic group from North-West Pakistan whose strict onjesta-pragata dual division of the world is the center of a variety of anthropological studies. Onjesta is equated with purity and pragata is identified with impurity. While pure (onjesta) places are those where the social ideal develops, impure (pragata) places act as mere containers of impurity. This fact has skewed investigations toward onjesta places while the most pragata institution: the bashali, or menstrual house, has been comparably overlooked. In this work I will argue that the bashali is not of an impure nature but liminal, and that its function goes beyond preserving community from impurity. For that purpose, I will first introduce kalasha society, the history of the region and what has been said about the bashali. Next, I will tackle the concept of liminality and its development by anthropologists Arnold vas Gennep and Victor Turner. Then I will explore the placement, spatiality and material culture of the bashali so as to contrast them with domestic features. Lastly, conclusions will be exposed with a view to emphasize the importance of materiality which is crucial for understanding cultural meanings that are unconscious for those who produce them but knowable through their physical expressions.
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